Wednesday, August 19, 2009

LP Field could host 2018 or 2022 World Cup games

Update 8/27/09: Nashville survives cut of 11 cities; still in running to host FIFA World Cup

Soccer fans from all over the world would descend on LP Field if Nashville becomes a World Cup city in 2018 or 2022, which is a possibility according to The Tennessean. The U.S. made its bid official in February 2009, and Nashville officially expressed interest in being one of the many cities that makes up the U.S. bid, with the idea that games could be played in LP Field.

The country selection won't happen until December 2010, but between now and then Nashville has to survive a narrowing of the U.S. candidate cities from its current size down to 12 cities, according to the L.A. Times.

Why is Nashville a candidate for such a high-profile event when larger markets would be the expected locations almost by default? According to the Tennessean story:
Nashville officials hope the city's recent history of playing host to U.S. soccer games at LP Field will boost Music City's attempts to advance to the next round.

A World Cup qualifier between the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago in April drew about 28,000 fans to LP Field. A U.S. "friendly'' game against Morocco in 2006 drew more than 26,000.

Nashville also played host to three Olympic qualifying games in 2008, contests that featured the under-23 teams of the U.S., Canada, Guatemala and Honduras.

"I know that U.S. soccer and ESPN have both been very pleased about how easy it is to work here, the fan support they've seen, the media coverage — it's all played real well," [Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau President Butch] Spyridon said. "I'd say it's the No. 1 reason we're still in the hunt."
The U.S. women's soccer team also played Canada at LP Field in 2004.

The official site of the 2018/2022 U.S. World Cup bid is

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